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Scientific Research in a War Zone

The recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon made a normally tense situation that much worse for Israeli scientists. Shulamit Michaeli and Emanuel Hanski, HHMI// international research scholars from Israel, have watched their graduate students and postdoctoral fellows leave the lab to join the military, not knowing when or if they would return. "Sometimes they phone from the tanks to check up on their research," says Michaeli. "Our lab is a family. I concentrated on the science and tried not to think about the bombings." Both Michaeli and Hanski have had to sleep in their labs for fear of going out on the street.

Michaeli is a microbiologist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She studies parasitic trypanosomes that cause Chagas disease and sleeping sickness. Hanski, a professor at Hebrew University's Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, studies invasive strains of group A streptococcus, the bacteria that causes necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating bacteria. Both are willing to share their experiences of trying to conduct scientific research during a war.


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